Corrie producer Kate Oates has defended the soap's dark storylines, saying the topics they cover reflect real life.

Coronation Street boss Kate Oates has defended the soap’s dark storylines – saying the show is in “great health”.

Tonight’s episode features a male rape storyline, in which character David Platt (Jack P Shepherd) is assaulted by Josh Tucker (Ryan Clayton) after his drink is spiked.

Asked if the ITV soap was deliberately trying to shock, Oates told Good Morning Britain: “We’re doing it because we’re a drama. First and foremost, that’s what Coronation Street is…”

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Corrie boss Kate Oates defended the soap’s recent dark storylines

She continued: “We’re telling stories and some stories are challenging and that’s the way it’s always been.

“You could be rose-tinted in your views of Corrie history and other soap history. There’s always been challenging stories and we’re carrying on that tradition.”

The series producer added: “We suggest often a lot more than we show, very deliberately.

“The show isn’t designed for very young children. But I think it is still, to a certain extent, family viewing.”

Viewing figures “are up year-on-year”, she said, adding: “Of course, we hear people saying they find the programme too challenging” but “in the main, the show’s in really, really great health.”

Speaking from the set of the Rovers Return, she said that the show still had its trademark comedy.

“There’s great one-liners… We’ve got some amazing comedy characters. I think if we lost the comedy in Coronation Street then I would certainly be dragged out of this pub.”

And she said of Friday’s episode: “Male sexual assault happens… We know from research that men take in excess of 25 years to disclose when a male sexual assault happens to them. This needs discussion.”

Coronation Street continues tonight at 7:30pm and 8:30pm.